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The Singleness Thing

What about mentally disabled/ill people who “burn” and want to have sex but are not able to sustain a relationship/marriage?

Lake

Lake, for those who are severely disabled, there are many hard consequences. This would be one of them.


Always grateful when someone notes that unwanted singleness is an objective affliction. I am wont to say that being single doesn’t mean you have the gift of celibacy any more than being in Latin class means you have the gift of tongues. Of course if you are that poor ungifted Latin student, you still have to buckle down and learn Latin. And if you are that poor ungifted single person, you have to buckle down . . . and zip up.

Valerie

Valerie, yes. And people who are dealing with this (hard) affliction have enough troubles without the whole Christian world telling them a lie.


Revoice Reactions

Re: Revoice, Bundling, and the Borders of Celibacy Very good article, but there is still a big piece of the whole thing that, in my humble opinion, lots of judicious writers are missing. When we lost the use of a perfectly serviceable word, “gay,” the morphing of language didn’t stop there. Years ago, “gay” was about one’s deeds. You were gay if you had engaged in certain actions. But now the word “gay” denotes an attribute of the substance of one’s very soul. Gay has come to mean something decidedly ontological. The devil’s game here is to make “gay” into something that is impervious to repentance. You cannot repent, Satan would have you believe, of being human, or left-handed, or—ta da!—gay. You shouldn’t even try! So this is the mind game being played when people discuss how far a celibate gay Christian can go with expressing his affection. By using that language, we’ve already accepted the basic premise that Satan would use to drag people into darkness.

Steve

Steve, exactly so.


This (Revoice, Bundling, and the Borders of Celibacy) is an excellent article! Thank you! I want to make a quick comment on your last section, particularly the line, “The reason gay-friendly conferences are now a thing is because a gay-friendly evangelical world has been a thing.” First, I agree. Second, this comment reminded me of an article written by Thabiti Anyabwile back in 2013, “The importance of your gag reflex.” I would guess that he has received more negative feedback from this article than any other. I thought you may be interested to review the article because of your relationship with Thabiti. I suspect this is one of the many areas that the two of you agree. Sometimes that is nice to remember. Also, I don’t want to presume to tell you what to write about. But to my knowledge, neither you nor Thabiti tackled the effect of Revoice logic on our ability to interpret and be moved by texts like Romans 1. As you know, Romans 1 assumes we will all agree that the natural law makes it plain that homosexual relationships are outside of God’s natural boundaries and are worthy of judgment. It seems to me that conferences such as Revoice undercut the thunder of Romans 1, leaving it ultimately unable to convince us that the wrath of God really should be poured out against all ungodliness. Don’t mean to be presumptuous in writing to you. Excellent article, and thank you for your ministry.

Nathaniel

Nathaniel, thank you.


RE: Revoice, Bundling, and the Borders of Celibacy If these revoice people think it’s ok to be gay as long as you don’t ‘act on it’ how is an ‘oath bonded friendship’ not ‘acting on it’? I wonder if rather than asking how celibacy is defined it would be better to say that anyone pursuing a homosexual relationship is rebelling against God?

Christopher

Christopher, right. But what they are doing is setting aside a very narrow set of actions as being the only ones prohibited, and then granting themselves permission to walk up to that line. It is not hard to predict what will happen next.


Re: Revoice, Bundling and the Borders of Celibacy It seems to me these are the same questions which have plagued those in heterosexual relationships prior to marriage (dating, courting, etc.) who wish to teeter on the edge of acceptability. Once the church has let down its defenses in one direction, why should any be surprised that the battle ensues from the rear flank?

Stacey

Stacey, right. These people are not rationalizing the borders of sexual sin because they are homosexual. They are rationalizing it because they are fallen human beings, just like heterosexuals who want something badly.


Thanks for your posts dealing with Revoice. This particular post (‘Revoice, Bundling, and the Borders of Celibacy’) reminded me of a quote from Hodge’s commentary on I Corinthians: “. . . He made these strenuous exertions, lest, having preached the gospel to others, he himself should become a reprobate, one rejected. What an argument and what a reproof is this! The reckless and listless Corinthians thought they could safely indulge themselves to the very verge of sin, while this devoted apostle considered himself as engaged in a life-struggle for his salvation.”

Steve

Steve, thanks for the quote.


I agree with you that Wesley Hill’s idea of “spiritual friendship” is awful, but I do agree with him that same-sex friendships are essential in fighting homosexual temptations. Homosexual desires are not just inordinate sexual desires. They are inordinate desires for friendship. They twist a good desire for camaraderie into something beyond the scope of God’s design. Therefore, it seems to me that one important step to fighting homosexual temptation is to develop healthy, strong, same-sex friendships so that that person may experience friendship as God designed it to be. But this can be difficult for those struggling with homosexual temptation for the same reasons you alluded to in your article. Same-sex attracted people long for a friendship like that between Frodo and Sam or David and Jonathan, but according to your article a friendship as intimate and affectionate as that should not be pursued, as it might foster homosexual temptation. This leaves same-sex attracted Christians feeling despair, for they are sentenced to a life of superficial friendships that contain little real intimacy or affection. You’ve told us how same-sex-attracted Christians should not pursue same-sex friendship. Would you consider writing a piece telling them how they should pursue same-sex friendships? Perhaps you could address this in that series of letters to the Christian struggling with same-sex attraction that you started a few months ago.

Brent

Brent, thanks for the suggestion. I quite agree that same sex friendships are key for Christians who are resisting these temptations. But they have to be actual friendships, the kind that Lewis described in The Four Loves, shoulder to shoulder, pursuing a common interest. Sex needs to be utterly absent from the equation. What Hill wants is a face-to-face friendship, serving as a stand-in for marriage. And those are going to blow up, one way or another.


Re: The borders of celibacy. Would we give a child a book of matches and tell them it’s okay to play with them as long as they didn’t light them?

Dan

Dan, no. Or was this a trick question?


The Patterson File

In regard to the macro-situation regarding Paige Patterson: The evangelical elite that has been promoting “social justice” does so because they look to secular academia for intellectual guidance. That is why so many of their assumptions and terminology are borrowed from the secular left (e.g. intersectionality, critical theory, etc.) Disciplinary panels at secular universities are well-known to jettison due process for any man accused of a sexual infraction. Their reasoning is that the alleged crime is too serious to be left to such legal niceties. Seems like, once again, the evangelical elite is following the lead of the secular academy.

Paul

Paul, yes. Once again.


Thank you so much for taking the time to sort some of this out. I went to southeastern during Paige Patterson’s time there, and went to church with Dr. Mosley. When I saw that Dr. Mosley was involved with the alleged rape case, I knew something was fishy with all the mob-like accusations. Dr. Mosley is known as a kind, humble servant. I could never imagine that he would be involved in some type of crooked cover up.

Rena

Rena, thank you.


When I saw this story I thought the SBC was totally going for drama in this firing. Especially in light of the time lapse between the alleged events and the sudden firing. The SBC statement was confusing at best and doesn’t pass a very good smell test. Who knows whether the man should be fired or not, but why the need for theatrics?

Melody

Melody, you are right to note the difference between justice and justice theater.


Re: Pursue Justice First, Your Agenda Second: I want to thank you for your considered approach to this whole Paige Patterson ordeal. But I won’t. What strikes me is that, even in our conservative denominations, even from “conservative thought leaders” such as pastors and leaders of ethics commissions, a fair and biblical approach to such drama is a rare thing. I do not mean to demean you when I say that your insight is not so lofty that it should be beyond the average Christian. Yet it appears far beyond the grasp of even our most renowned figures. So instead of a psalm of thanksgiving, this is a song of lament. Our prophets, as said through Jeremiah, are leading us into futility. I delight in the voices of folk like yourself and Gagnon as in the refreshing breeze of the soft whisper after the roaring fire. Do keep speaking, so the faithful remnant will be heartened.

Mike

Mike, thank you.


The President of the SBC’s ERLC is frustrated in no longer having access to the White House due to his previous war of words and the SBC financial shortages are prompting questions about the existence of the ERLC. He seems to have been very vocal and quick on Patterson’s dismissal. He is a former academic dean in SBC seminary. Just observations.

Mike

Mike, yes. The SBC does need to remember the developing adage: “Go woke, go broke.”


I guess this line of thinking from Paige doesn’t apply for himself, just abused women? What’s he on now press release 2 and bogus article 1 . . . so much for being ok with being not represented properly. “It is our Lord who says don’t take it before the world,” Baptist luminary Paige Patterson said in a sermon recorded in the 2013 video. “Settle it within the church of God. And if you suffer for it—and if you are misused—and if you are abused—and if you’re not represented properly— it’s OK. You can trust it to the God who judges justly.”

Ryan

Ryan, these are good words, and I don’t know if Patterson has followed them fully—although the robust and detailed defenses I have seen have not come from him. But whether he followed his own advice completely or not, he still should get due process.


The question is not whether or not Dr. Patterson’ behavior was bad enough to be fired; the question is whether or not his behavior/attitude is good enough to represent the heart and soul of the largest group of evangelicals in the world. It’s not. I am failing to see how this one is difficult.

Kaeley

Kaeley, I actually think that had he been fired for that sort of reason, it would have been the board’s prerogative. But if they insinuate that he was an enabler of abuse, then they need to make their case, and preferably they should not do it in the middle of the night when the defendant is out of the country.


Racism Flowchart:

Dennis Miller: “Some people see a trace of racism everywhere–they’re Tracists.” We’re well past the point of the racism issue being a bullying tactic and one has to wonder why the church isn’t standing up to it. Maybe as in the scenario of 2 Tim 3:6, we are weighed down with other real sins and easily muscled into feeling guilty over non-sins.

Ginny

Ginny, the reason the woke people keep changing the rules, and the names of the offenses, is because they want everyone to function in a perpetual state of guilt. Because guilty people are easier to manipulate.

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Jane
Jane
4 years ago

How can anybody maintain a straight face while claiming this “spiritual friendship” thing is okay, since nobody (or at least no person I’ve ever encountered) thinks it’s okay for an unmarried couple to live together in a platonic relationship, because they’re just such good friends they don’t want to be apart? Is it really that hard to see that such absurdity can only be a self-serving attempt to avoid an obvious matter of obedience?

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
4 years ago
Reply to  Jane

Jane, I think that if people who recommend this kind of thing really searched their souls, they might find that their problem isn’t being naive. It’s that they no longer think that fornication or gay sex is that big a deal–at least for other people. When you actually think an action is deeply sinful, you encourage people to avoid occasions of sin.

Jane
Jane
4 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

I agree it’s not just naive. I just wonder how they think they can sell it without the little boy pointing out the nature of the emperor’s fashion choices. I understand fp’s point as a strategy, but it still somewhat boggles the mind that they think they can get away with it. And yet, the reality is, they probably WILL. Sometimes it’s better to be mind-boggled by the egregious than to accept it calmly, as long as mind-bogglement isn’t denial of reality, I guess. Not to be mind-boggled would be a sign that you were too good at thinking like… Read more »

bethyada
bethyada
4 years ago
Reply to  Jane

When a man actively rejects God he gives him over to deception.

Not saying all are in this boat. But may explain some people

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
4 years ago
Reply to  Jane

Jane, if I were an evil genius and wanted to destroy Christianity’s influence in the west (if not Christianity itself), this is exactly the strategy I’d use. Once a group has been anointed with “victim status” by the Powers That Be, it’s easy to weaponize people’s tendency toward compassion and empathy for the victim — not to mention their tendency to avoid upsetting the herd — and beat them into submission to an alternate (and inferior) ideology. It especially works on far too many Christians. Tell them they’re not loving enough, or compassionate enough (“Jesus would have baked the cake”… Read more »

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
4 years ago

It is brilliant, and it has worked with every denomination that has tried it. Did the ordinary lay Anglicans in the UK and North America actually foresee gay clergy at their local church? I very much doubt it. My religious compromise with my Jewish husband was that our child grow up Episcopalian, and so I hung with them for a number of years. For me the end came when the parish was sent a priest who was gay married. Soft as I am on gays in general, this was a bridge too far for my Catholic conscience. Remaining would have… Read more »

JohnM
JohnM
4 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Jill, leave it to me to ask a beside-the-point question, but how did compromise between Jewish and Roman Catholic work out to be Episcopalian? Was that simply the most innocuous seeming church a Jewish man could think of? I mean, I could understand that thinking. Catholic-ish form, but secular culture accommodating. Am I inaccurate, or unfair?

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
4 years ago
Reply to  JohnM

John, I think that Jews who were born immediately after the war were taught to view the Catholic church with suspicion. There was a feeling that Pius XII could have done more to save their relatives from the Holocaust. And the Catholic church at that time was seen as politically very conservative and too quick to stifle dissent. The Episcopalians, on the other hand, had none of these drawbacks. Even among academics, being Episcopalian is perfectly respectable! It had my vote because it is Catholic-light: almost identical liturgy and infinitely better hymns! Right before our daughter’s first holy communion, my… Read more »

adad0
adad0
4 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

“….enslaved to Rome……”? !!

I thought she was enslaved to those cats?!

; – )

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
4 years ago
Reply to  adad0

My cats are good Catholics who have had holy water sprayed at them. The Siamese, of course, follows an eastern religion of his own devising.

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
4 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

What’s going on right now in the PCA and SBC is pretty much a replay of what happened with mainline churches (Episcopalians-ECUSA, the UMC, PCUSA, etc.) in previous decades. All the social justice/social gospel talk, testing the boundaries for homosexuals (before totally giving in), maximizing the role of women in leadership/teaching roles (before totally giving in on women’s ordination), etc.

Déjà vu yet so many are in denial…or they’re saying that deadly 4-word phrase “This time it’s different…”

JohnM
JohnM
4 years ago
Reply to  JP Stewart

I’ve been saying for years the SBC is the new UMC. Part of what is happening in the SBC comes from focusing too much on being the great big denomination – Southern Baptists have taken a lot of pride in that. The other thing I’ve said about the SBC (having one time been there) is that it got to be a mile wide and an inch deep. I did have somewhat better expectations for the PCA. Old school independent fundamentalism never seemed quite right to me, but it is becoming easier to understand.

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
4 years ago

I wonder if Thabiti still agrees with his 2013 article? Right now, there’s a lot of talk about “intersectionality” among the SJWs (especially in the SBC). The idea is that the more-women-in-leadership/#metoo promoters, the “woke” racism-is-everywhere crowd and LGBTQ sensitive types have to work together. I’m sure the Revoicers don’t want to hear about homosexual activities inducing gag reflexes.

https://sovereignnations.com/2018/06/05/sbc-intersectionality/

Armin
Armin
4 years ago
Reply to  JP Stewart

Thabiti knows where his bread is buttered. The cucked white reformed establishment know what lines they can’t cross (because of course they’re always purposefully walking right up to them), and if Thabiti crosses one of those lines, he risks alienating the whites who bequeathed him his platform and influence.

mys
mys
4 years ago
Reply to  Armin

Armin-
Yes, and yes to JP. I doubt Thabiti agrees still with what he said. He is clearly drifting, or has drifted, way left.
This summer is going to be big for the USA church in these areas.

Armin
Armin
4 years ago

The reason why the “gay Christian” thing is even a thing is because gays have the backing of the entire power structure in the West. It’s the same reason that feminists and blacks misbehave so flagrantly. We normal white men have no power, and thus we are forced into these (quite frankly) gay discussions where we have to pretend like arguments, reason, logic, etc. have any relevance. As soon as we realize that it’s not better arguments, but a different power structure that is needed, we can move on from this retarded “good faith” paradigm and begin crushing those elites… Read more »

Katecho
Katecho
4 years ago

Ginny wrote: Dennis Miller: “Some people see a trace of racism everywhere–they’re Tracists.” We’re well past the point of the racism issue being a bullying tactic and one has to wonder why the church isn’t standing up to it. Outrage fatigue is beginning to set in, even among the SJWs. I read that a Berkeley scholar has recently thrown in the towel on the global Climate Change agenda: “The descent of climate change into the abyss of social-justice identity politics represents the last gasp of a cause that has lost its vitality. Climate alarm is like a car alarm—a blaring… Read more »

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
4 years ago

It’s worth noting that the “Revoice” approach has been attempted in other denominations. Not surprisingly, it didn’t work and churches quickly began accepting practicing homosexuals: http://baylyblog.com/blog/2015/03/city-church-pastor-fred-harrell-man-pca-refused-discipline “Our pastoral practice of demanding life-long ‘celibacy,’ by which we meant that for the rest of your life you would not engage your sexual orientation in any way, was causing obvious harm and has not led to human flourishing… As we consider the life of Christ, his example of love, his call to embrace the outsider and cast down, and his patience with those earnestly seeking him, what is a Christ-like response? …the doors… Read more »

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
4 years ago
Reply to  JP Stewart

JP, you said: It’s worth noting that the “Revoice” approach has been attempted in other denominations. Not surprisingly, it didn’t work and churches quickly began accepting practicing homosexuals. Depends on your perspective. I’m convinced the proponents of “Revoice” are engaged in a strategy to take out the more stalwart opponents of homosexuality in the evangelical wing of Christianity and establish homosexuality as normal — if not superior — to God’s design for sexuality. Once they get their camel’s nose into the tent, the rest is soon to follow. It’s the same incremental approach used by the people who wanted marijuana… Read more »

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
4 years ago

fp, I think you are right. I know from my own experience that no one who has been taught gay sex is sinful wakes up one morning and suddenly sees the light. When you look back, you can’t even identify the point at which your thinking changed; the increments were so gradual as to be imperceptible at the time. It culminates in “Just let them do what they want as long as we can stop talking about it.” I initially thought the spiritual friendship/gays can live together as couples suggestion was merely naive, but I no longer think so. If… Read more »

mys
mys
4 years ago

I agree FP.
Which is why reasoning is pointless. Nuancing with opponents who are being so dishonest has no gain. Expulsion of such rebels from fellowship is the only solution.

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
4 years ago
Reply to  mys

“Which is why reasoning is pointless. Nuancing with opponents who are being so dishonest has no gain. ” That depends on how you measure “gain”. From a Biblical perspective, whether or not people will listen to you is not the only question in whether or not something must be said. Nobody was going to join Noah on the Ark, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t attempt to convince them just the same. There is moral worth to giving someone all the correct information before they choose sin and lies. If not, I would question why God does so with such… Read more »

mys
mys
4 years ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

You have a point with Noah, but it doesn’t negate the expulsion method. That is the final conclusion to the matter.
You have to be truthful because there are some good folks caught up in it. But most of them are liars who know exactly what scripture says. There comes a point where you, argumentatively speaking, shake the dust off of your feet.

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
4 years ago
Reply to  mys

Just remember the expulsion methods works both ways. You may be among those getting expulsed. This is especially true in the SBC where SJWs and SJW lites are moving into most of the prominent positions…and they’re the ones getting their resolutions passed.

Farinata
Farinata
4 years ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

A curiosity: have we any indication that Noah tried to spread the news around?

In any case, whereas engagement of some sort is clearly an evangelical requirement, reasoning in the strict sense is counterindicated for irrational types. This comes from both Van Til and from the Alt Right.

I am now trying to decide if the juxtaposition is ironic. Van Til was certainly a white guy…

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
4 years ago
Reply to  Farinata

Maybe the next presup apologetics book will have the following in the intro:

“Before we get to Van Til, we must remember two things. These are especially relevant in the 21st Century as we engage with “new atheists” and internet trolls:

1) SJWs always lie
2) SJWs always project:

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
4 years ago
Reply to  JP Stewart

“1) SJWs always lie
2) SJWs always project:”

Don’t forget “SJWs always double down”

Katecho
Katecho
4 years ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

Also don’t forget that progressives and SJWs live in a consuming state of fear. They know that their agenda is precarious, and cannot be subjected to even one sustained dissenting voice. This is why they seek to use the power of law to prevent having to hear a prayer in a public place, or hear that climate alarmism has dissenters, or that evolutionism isn’t the only view of origins, or that a child experiencing sexual confusion is likely to outgrow it. They obviously don’t use the coercive force of law because they are tolerant, or because they think their views… Read more »

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
4 years ago
Reply to  Katecho

Re: Chick-fil-A – Some fast food and craft store franchises stand for their convictions better than conservative Christian denominations. What a day we live in.

mys
mys
4 years ago
Reply to  JP Stewart

I endorse these SJW rules in textbooks JP.
you are correct that the explusion knife does cut both ways. I say, let the SJWs expel. It would at least reveal what they really are to any remaining doubters.
As for biblical folks expelling the heathens, quite frankly I think most of them lack the gumption to do so, and hide this lack of gumption under a veneer of love.

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
4 years ago
Reply to  mys

Mys,

It looks like they expulsion has started.

http://pulpitandpen.org/2018/06/13/erlc-allegedly-has-dallas-pd-toss-pastor-from-sbc-meeting-after-he-questions-revoice/

http://pulpitandpen.org/2018/06/13/sbc-resolution-on-social-media-is-truly-dangerous-says-dr-robert-gagnon/

Their social media resolution sounds good on the surface, but will most certainly be used to silence anyone questioning the “woke” agenda. I’ve never been a Baptist or kept up with the SBC, but have this year because it’s like watching a slow-motion train wreck…and could be coming to other denominations soon. Allowing Pence to speak (despite many SJWs objecting) was apparently the only victory for conservatives.

mys
mys
4 years ago
Reply to  JP Stewart

Saw that story too JP.
Feels like I say it every time I comment, but yeah, the decline has been alarming and quick that’s for sure. I even think Pence speaking was almost a “false win” for conservatives. Not that I had a problem with him speaking, but more that his speaking could be used as ammo to say, “see, conservatives got their points too.”
The only thing left is entertainment. I enjoy watching liberal SBC and TGC types go nuts over the Trump/North Korea stuff. Most droll.

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
4 years ago
Reply to  mys

The strange thing is these TGC types used to be very apolitical. They’d say we should be salt and light to influence the culture and leave it at that. Now they only say that about abortion…”I’m pro life personally but we can’t change people’s hearts or how they vote on the issue.” But everything else (immigration, gun control, use of force by law enforcement, LGBQT) is now a “gospel issue.” And the gospel view = current progressive view (how convenient).

mys
mys
4 years ago
Reply to  JP Stewart

JP-
Trump turned them liberal.
Seriously though, the TGC always struck me as a younger, urban, hip, educated brand of Christianity. I know people who love it, because I myself check some of the boxes I just listed.
A by-product of that, however, is an utter contempt for that which is: older, rural, not so hip, and not quite as educated. Basically, TGC types think rural southerners are the reason their hip urban friends are heathens. And though wrong, I think they are sincere in their objections.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
4 years ago
Reply to  Farinata

Farinata, what a good question. I just looked it up, and no he didn’t. The clear mental picture I have of him warning everybody who came to watch him pound in nails evidently came from the movies!

Jane
Jane
4 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Did someone mean to downvote Jill’s comment? I can’t even imagine there’s anything in there TO disagree with.

bethyada
bethyada
4 years ago
Reply to  Farinata

2 Peter 2:5

Arwenb
Arwenb
4 years ago
Reply to  Farinata

have we any indication that Noah tried to spread the news around?

IIRC he and his sons spent several decades building the thing, so it’s not like he was hiding it from his neighbors….

bethyada
bethyada
4 years ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

Consider also Ezekiel as a watchman

bethyada
bethyada
4 years ago
Jane
Jane
4 years ago

BTW, is the accompanying photo Tash for an age that doesn’t even require grandeur of its idols? :-)